Lane pulls off upset of co-medalist Freeman
It's been quite the ride this summer for Detroit Lakes senior Tanner Lane.
First, his hockey career literally blasts off after being drafted by the USHL's Fargo Force, committing to play with the WCHA's University of Nebraska-Omaha men's hockey team and being selected by the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers.
Friday -- which incidentally was his 18th birthday -- was another notch in a wild summer for Lane, but it didn't come on the ice.
Lane posted the first upset of the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament, after toppling co-medalist and former tourney champion Ben Freeman 1-up.
Lane's eight-foot downhill par putt on hole 18 clinched the match and sent Freeman packing.
The future Fargo Force forward also will have familiar company Saturday in the round of 16, as his cousin Adam McArthur also reserved a spot after beating James Ford 3 and 2.
The two cousins were playing in the same group Friday and will be playing in the same foursome Saturday, as well.
"That's pretty cool being able to play with Adam," Lane said. "And it was definitely a great birthday today."
Lane's win was keyed by his ability to hang close to Freeman early on, then win the crucial hole late.
Lane lost the second hole to a birdie by Freeman, but after that, there wasn't a hole exchanged until hole 12, when the Detroit Country Club member evened the match.
"That was key, because Ben was making a lot of birdies and pars and I didn't get too far behind," Lane said.
Hole 14 became a decisive one, as Lane took his first lead 1-up with a birdie.
After the two golfers halved 15, Freeman had a very rare hiccup, missing a short birdie putt after Lane sand blasted a shot near the cup to ultimately halve the hole.
"He never misses those kind of putts," Lane said of Freeman.
It was a grand finale on 18, as Lane ended up short of the cup, with an uphill putt and Freeman was chipping above the hole.
Lane's putt went long, while Freeman put his chip shot within two feet, but that set up the DL golfer's clutch putt from eight feet out -- which he drained for the win.
"Those are the types of putts you need to make to beat a golfer like Ben," Lane added.
McArthur finished much earlier than the Lane-Freeman duo, after jumping out to an early lead and maintaining it, before ending the match on hole 14.
"I really had to grind today, because I wasn't playing my best," said McArthur, who like Lane, will be making their first Sweet 16 appearance. "I took advantage of the openings he left me."
McArthur is playing in his third Pine to Palm, after quitting golf last year, but he's glad he gave it another shot.
"I sold my clubs and everything last summer," McArthur said. "It's just nice to come back home and play well."
The cousins will be playing a pair of Moorhead up and comers, as McArthur will face Ben Welle and Lane will play Max Hosking.
The two elders who qualified for Pine to Palm match play will be making yet another appearance in the round of 16.
The eldest, 51-year-old Todd Hillier, advanced with a pair of wins over Tanner Jones Thursday 7 and 6 and John Young 4 and 3.
It's his second trip to the third round and he realizes his long game doesn't compete with the younger golfers, but it's his short game which is dangerous.
"I can't hit it as far as the younger guys, I accept that," Hillier said. "But I go out and try to just hit the fairways and greens. There's no reason to be intimidated with how far those younger guys can hit it."
Two-time Pine to Palm champion 40-year-old Rick Kuhn remains a very tough out, as he eliminated each of Mitch Buboltz 4 and 3 in the first round and Adam Gronaas 6 and 5.
"I love Todd!" Kuhn proclaimed after hearing the older Hillier also won Friday, thus making him the oldest one left in the tournament and not Kuhn. "I've been playing solid this week. But every year I play in the Pine to Palm, those younger guys are just getting better and better, their ball striking is outstanding.
"When you play those elite guys, you have to go out and make birdies. But I'm not intimidated playing them, I just go out and do what I do."
With two rounds scheduled tomorrow, one in the morning and the second starting at 2:31 p.m., fatigue will affect the older golfers more.
"If I advance that far (to the final eight) and play two rounds, I'm going to be dead tired, I won't lie," Kuhn said. "But the key is to keep your fundamentals good and pay attention to what your body is telling you."
Kuhn will face Spencer Hilde, who defeated former Pine to Palm champion Greg Melhus 2 and 1.
The Tom Hoge train also kept plowing right along, as the defending champion shot "six or seven" under par on his way to a 3 and 2 win over Troy Klongerbo.
Hoge was six-under par after seven holes to build a 3-up lead.
"I couldn't hit my putts after that and (Klongerbo) was playing well," Hoge said. "He probably would have been beating anyone else with the way he was playing. But I kept driving the ball straight and went out and tried to make birdies.
"But, I feel I can play better."
One of this year's co-medalists did survive, as St. Paul's Wade Walters advanced with a 5 and 3 win over Jared Butler.
All but four first-round matches were decided early Friday morning, after the first round was ended after rain delays and darkness.